High Plains Book Awards – Double Finalist!

I was very happy to get the news that both Unearthing Paradise: Montana Writers in Defense of Greater Yellowstone and Poems Across the Big Sky, Volume II: An Anthology of Montana Poets have been named as finalists for this year’s High Plains Book Awards.

Unearthing ParadiseUnearthing Paradise was edited by Seabring Davis, Max Hjortsberg and myself, and includes my poem “HeartStones.” Poems Across the Big Sky was edited by Lowell Jaeger and Hannah Bissell and includes my poems “Golden Gate Bison” and “After the Storm.”

Congratulations to everyone who contributed to these two books, as well as all the finalists in all the categories.

The winners will be announced at the awards banquet during the High Plains Book Festival on October 21. Stay tuned.

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The Attic presents “Jazz/Poetry Thing”

The Attic presents “Jazz Poetry Thing” a performance of music and spoken word featuring poets Marc Beaudin and Dave Caserio, with Parker Brown on upright bass and Billy Conway on drums, on Saturday, June 10. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and the show starts at 8:00 p.m. The Attic, Livingston’s premiere music venue, is located at 110 N. Main St., above the Whiskey Creek Saloon.

Tickets for this one-night-only performance are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Advance tickets may be purchased at Whiskey Creek, Elk River Books at 120 N. Main, or online at TicketRiver.



Marc Beaudin has performed his poetry and spoken word with jazz and rock artists around the country, including Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne, Michigan jazz legends the Northwoods Improvisers, and fronting his own bands, Miscellaneous Jones and Remington Streamliner. His work has been published in numerous journals, collected in chapbooks as well as the full-length The Moon Cracks Open, and is included in the anthologies Unearthing Paradise: Montana Writers in Defense of Greater Yellowstone and Poems Across the Big Sky, II. His latest book, Vagabond Song: Neo-Haibun from the Peregrine Journals, was called “a jazzy, freewheeling, rollicking road trip into the beating heart of the Eternal Now” by Montana Quarterly.

Dave Caserio is the author of This Vanishing and Wisdom For A Dance In The Street, a CD of poetry and music. A recipient of a Fellowship in Poetry award from the New York State Foundation of the Arts, Caserio works with various community outreach programs, Humanities Montana Conversations and Arts Without Boundaries. He is a founding member of the writer’s collective, Big Sky Writing, and producer of a series of poetry-in-performance events: A Feast For The Hunger Moon, WordSongs, Arc of the Communal, and I Conjure A Stubborn Faith, that combine poetry, music, dance and the visual arts. Recent publications include the Coachella Review, and the anthologies, Unearthing Paradise and Poems Across the Big Sky, II.

Specializing in double bass, electric bass and guitar, Parker Brown is a private instructor, songwriter and a freelance and studio musician. He teaches at Allied Music in Billings, MT, and as adjunct instructor at Sheridan College in Sheridan, WY and Rocky Mountain College in Billings. Brown has performed with jazz musicians Jeff Hamilton, Ronnie Bedford, Jack Walrath, and Nick Mancini. As a studio musician Parker has recorded as a bassist and guitarist on over twenty albums, working almost primarily with Base Camp Studio in Bozeman. He recently released his first solo album, We Were Young.

Billy Conway entered the Boston music scene in the early 1980s playing in the punk-blues band Treat Her Right with Dave Champagne, Jimmy Fitting and Mark Sandman, touring extensively and landing a major record deal. This was followed by nearly a decade of recording and performing with the internationally acclaimed band Morphine, featuring Sandman on two-string bass, Dana Colley on sax and Conway and Jerome Deupree on drums. Since the untimely passing of Sandman, Conway continues to perform with fellow Morphine members and others as Orchestra Morphine, Twinemen and Vapors of Morphine. He has played on or produced dozens of records, and toured with many bands before and since working with Morphine, most recently with Chris Smither and Jeffrey Foucault.

For more information, contact Beaudin at (406) 224-5171 or info@crowvoice.com.

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Hundred Highways Tour #56 – #60: US 89, US 12, US 87, MT 200 & MT 3 to Cassiopeia Books

Between a mermaid & Greg Klyma is a good place to be. Photo by Andrew Guschausky.

A return to Cassiopeia Books, but this time traveling with my good friend and one of my favorite musicsmiths Greg Klyma. He flew out from Boston for a show at Elk River Books, and from there, we hit the Silver Dollar in Butte and a couple live radio sessions, but for the Great Falls show, I was the opener, performing a handful of poems from Vagabond Song as well as some new ones that I hope to include in a forthcoming project. More about that in some much later post.

Driving up from Livingston and stopping for lunch in White Sulphur Springs, then into the magic of the Little Belt Mountains. We stop halfway through for a short walk into the slick rocks and fir trees with yellow-bellied marmots zipping over boulders and stumps. Once in Great Falls, we have a couple drinks at a bar near the bookstore where another guy in a fedora compliments mine. Kindred spirits. Comrades in the anti-baseball hat faction.

After the reading, as expected, we visited the mermaids at the Sip n Dip — and, a first sighting for me: a merman. The sexual revolution is alive and well in Montana.

On the way home, we stopped off at Bar 47 in White Sulphur for lunch, and Greg started plinking on the piano. Right away, the owner turned off the house music and joined him for a duet of “Crazy.” I suddenly had a new favorite bar.

And, I have a very rough draft of a new poem:

A slurry of sleet softens to snow
as we top the Little Belts & begin
the descent toward the science fiction
of Great Falls

a city dropped from the sky
into the middle of rolling ranchlands or
unpacked overnight by top secret
machines of the Air Force Base
in a flurry of Cold War propaganda

I stand with the longest river in the country
on my left hand and the shortest on my right

From spring to mouth in 201 feet
the Roe River in its subterranean-cleansed clarity
contains all a river could

At 2,341 miles, the Missouri holds
the history of a continent, the bones of
an Irish revolutionary, the songs of
the Blackfeet, Hidatsa, Lakota, Mandan,
Omaha, Ponca, Métis and dozens more,
the echoes of bison and the shadows of tree swallows
mapping the demise of unseen
insects above the unseen broodings
of trout

Stretching, I could place a hand in each
but it’s time to get back on the road

[Read more about the Hundred Highways Tour here.]

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